PsyDoom: astonishing open-source Doom port for PC

Last Updated on May 4, 2024

Doom is one of the most influential and well-known first-person shooters ever made. It should come as no surprise, then, that there are countless ports, remasters, and rereleases. The latest addition to this ever-growing list is PsyDoom, a PC mod of the PlayStation version of Doom.

Having recently reviewed Doom on the Nintendo Switch store, let’s see how it compares.

What even is PsyDoom?

Doom may be a classic, but its ports vary massively in quality. The Sega 32X version, for example, looks all right, but the gameplay is squeezed into a small box in the center of the screen. If you think that’s bad, the Atari Jaguar port doesn’t even have music!

With these anomalies in mind, I’m pleased to report that PsyDoom has none of these issues. This open source port of Doom looks superb and has many additional features that catapult PsyDoom to the next level.

PsyDoom is a port of the PlayStation version of Doom, but just calling it that is a disservice to the project.  

PsyDoom Review
Screenshot: RetroGamerBase

When you load up the game, you’re introduced to the menu above and can tinker with almost anything you can think of. Graphics, Advanced Control options; it’s all here, and you can get pretty granular with the settings. Most of this stuff flies straight over my head, so I played with everything on the default settings.

You can even create Demo files, which are like replays. Demos remove the need for fancy hardware or software to record footage. While I didn’t use any of the advanced settings, I didn’t need to, but I’m sure Doom aficionados will appreciate what’s on offer.

A Playstation classic enhanced  

The most obvious difference between PsyDoom and any other version I’ve played is the visuals. The environments look fantastic, particularly in their lighting.  

PsyDoom Review
Screenshot: RetroGamerBase

Shotgun blasts light up dark corridors and while the effects are primitive by today’s standards, it’s a nice touch. Weapon and enemy models are notably more pixelated around the edges, but these are minor nitpicks. Pink charging demons I didn’t spot still make me jump, no matter how rough their edges are. I’d choose this graphical style over sprites that have been smudged for smoothness.

I haven’t spent enough time with the original Doom on the PlayStation to comment on specific enhancements, but PsyDoom looks gorgeous on my PC monitor.

All peripherals are welcome 

It’s hard to explain why Doom feels so satisfying to control. Doom Guy is fast but also has deliberate weight and momentum in his movements. Players with far more skill than myself will be able to effortlessly charge around the maps while avoiding hazards. While Doom Guy is quick, the controls are so precise that I always feel in control.

The keyboard and mouse controls for PsyDoom are flawless. I’d never know I was playing a PlayStation port if I didn’t boot up the mod myself. Everything feels smooth and responsive, and combat is an absolute joy.

On that note, I’ve always been a controller player and was thrilled to learn that my PS4 controller works with zero setup. In fact, I even switched between M&K and Controller mid-game. You can seamlessly swap between peripherals in PsyDoom, and while this will be a negligible feature for many players, I’m thoroughly impressed.

The default controller settings are perfect. Doom Guy retains his slick movement controls from M&K, and they perfectly fit the conventional twin-stick default control scheme. PsyDoom feels like a modern shooter on a controller, and It works so much better than I ever expected.

PsyDoom doesn’t sound like the Doom I remember

I’m a stickler for the original Doom soundtrack, and it’s almost unbeatable in my eyes. Doom on the PlayStation has a far more atmospheric ensemble, a dramatic departure from what I’m used to. With the clean visuals and moody lighting, PsyDoom’s soundtrack makes the game feel more like a horror title.  

Screenshot: RetroGamerBase

It’s pretty intense, and the haunting score combined with grunting and snarling beasts is genuinely unnerving. That said, If anyone is going to have a bad word to say about PsyDoom, it’ll likely be about the music. The world sometimes feels a little empty when you’ve killed all the enemies and are trying to find the exit, and the non-descript soundtrack doesn’t help with that.

I prefer the tunes I know and love, but I still appreciate the difference in style and tonal shift.  

Since I reviewed Doom on the Nintendo Virtual Console, I’ve played several ports of this iconic shooter. PsyDoom is the best I’ve played so far, and it proves, once again, that Doom really is a timeless classic.

PsyDoom: PsyDoom is an exemplary port that goes the extra mile with a slew of additional features. If you're looking to scratch that old-school shooter itch, you can't do much better than this iteration of ID software's masterpiece. Anthony

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2024-05-03T21:05:52+0100

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